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North American Literature I

Code: MEAAM015     Acronym: LNA1

Instance: 2008/2009 - 1S

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Department of Anglo-American Studies
Course/CS Responsible: Masters in Anglo-American Studies

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
MEAA 36 Study Plan since 2007/2008 1 - 5,5 2

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Carlos Manuel da Rocha Borges de Azevedo

Teaching - Hours

Theoretical classes: 2,00
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Theoretical classes Totals 1 2,00
Carlos Manuel da Rocha Borges de Azevedo 2,00

Teaching language



This programme will aim to examine the properties and uses of place in American Literature, namely the way in which the city has re-conceptualised itself from its origins until post-World War II. This within, and taking into account, an interdisciplinary framework that will value the deep and complex position the city has taken in its symbolic perspective in the culture(s) it is part of – approaching the USA as a culture of cities and as a plurality of urban experiences, not forgetting the constant pressure, in all this context, of non-urban values as part of an America ‘lost’ somewhere in the past.
The programme seeks the course of the city in American Literature in connection with different historical periods and literary movements. It will increase the depth of knowledge within American Literature working on a literary analysis of the city; it will lead to the discussion of some of the great social, aesthetic, cultural and literary movements of the 19th and 20th centuries in America; it will incorporate into the research activities on the American city some of the extensive scholarship that has already been done in the United States, but also elsewhere in the U.K. and throughout Europe.


The present programme is centred on the way cities have been represented in American Literature, involving a wilderness, a frontier, and pastoral values against which the city assumed its meaning, but also communal experiments, urban movements and literary concepts like modernism, in which the subject of the city becomes a defining issue, or like postmodernism, in which the city becomes an indeterminate maze. Consequently, the major writers of the second half of the 20th century, seeing the modern city as the end of a historical process, undercut historic, mythic, and aesthetic elements of modernism.
Each era offers an urban identity that reveals America’s hidden or secret cultural values. The literary works included in the main bibliography are telling examples of place usage, weaving together the city in its literalness, a character’s response to this place in both its concretness and its symbolical relation to his life, and the manner in which the textual dimension of the city gives meaning and form to narrative fiction.

Mandatory literature

Nathaniel Hawthorne; The Blithedale Romance, Penguin, 1986 [1852]
John Dos Passos; Manhattan Transfer, Penguin, 2000 [1925]
Paul Auster; The New York Trilogy, Faber & Faber, 1992 [1987]

Teaching methods and learning activities

Fifteen weekly sessions on a seminar basis


Humanities > Literature > Literary criticism
Humanities > Literature > American literature

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation without final exam

Assessment Components

Description Type Time (hours) Weight (%) End date
Subject Classes Participação presencial 30,00
Trabalho escrito 98,50 2009-01-17
Total: - 0,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

Description Type Time (hours) End date
Estudo autónomo 20 2009-01-17
Total: 20,00

Eligibility for exams

Students must attend 75% of all seminar sessions

Calculation formula of final grade

Students will obtain a 'pass' or 'fail' based on the following evaluation components:
-active participation in seminars
- oral presentaions on a specific topic

Examinations or Special Assignments

Not applicable

Special assessment (TE, DA, ...)

Not applicable

Classification improvement

Not applicable
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